I made up the other day about the second book in a trilogy, is Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. This book was fabulous. I rarely take my time with a book in order to savor it, I am more of a "devour it quickly" kind of reader, but this one made me want to slow down in part to keep it from being over, because now....I have to wait for the next one. This folks makes me sad...and frustrated...and depressed. I was lucky enough to be able to listen to Daughter of Smoke and Bone just before reading this installment. It helped to refresh me. This is a problem when books are released a year or more apart. [This is gonig to be an issue when I begin reading Reached by Ally Condie next as it has been a year since I read Crossed and a year before that when I read Matched. Details from Divergent's sequel (by Veronica Roth) Insurgent keep popping up whenever I try to remember Crossed.] As I have no reading impulse control I cannot wait until all the books are released to read them, I just have to rely on my faulty memory and the generosity of the author to do a bit of review (though philosophically I hate the idea).
So, if you have not figured it out yet, I loved the book. It still had a bit of an unfinished feel, but I truly felt like the characters grew and progressed. Karou and Akiva both had many moral decisions to make about their world and ours. I am not sure if Taylor intended the story to be a commentary on current world events such as the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, but it can be read that way as the chimera and angels persist in killing each other, with each side viewing the other as monstrous, with good reason. Taylor keeps the reader moving back and forth unable to decide which side is "right" and which is "wrong." Both Karou and Akiva feel a strong pull to make a change to prevent the extinction of both their peoples. It may come back to the cliché, "Love conquers all," but in this case I would be ok with that as the story is so well written it really defies cliché.
Additionally, I am a big fan of the world Taylor has created. The characters spend some time in the human world, especially in the first book, but the second takes place almost entirely in Eretz a world of creatures and magic, but again without predictable elements. Sadly, as I have read so many books both YA and otherwise I find too many commonalities, but this series is unique and surprising, which I love.
I would certainly recommend starting with the first book but if you are easily frustrated by waiting, I would consider holding off until the third book is released, hopefully around this time next year. I am sure I will read many wonderful books between now and when the next one comes out, but if Taylor sustains the level of emotion and tension in the final book this will be one of my favorites of all time.